Are You Blogging? Make a Good Blog Better With These Tips!

We are living in a magical time. In a world full of platforms to showcase your knowledge and skill, you no longer have to wait for someone to recognize your expertise – you can declare it!

You may have heard it a million times, but writing a blog is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors and establish yourself as an expert in your field. But when it comes right down to it, blogging takes time – our most valuable luxury. The idea of adding one more thing to your daily tasks is almost impossible to think about.  However, with a small time investment and a good roadmap to getting there, creating good content isn’t so impossible.

Get A Good Title

It would be nice if we could make people click on blog posts and read great content, but we have to draw them in with a strong headline. One of these 5 starters may help:

  1. Make A List: 10 Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Agent
  2. How to: How To Style Your Home On A Budget
  3. Question: What Does A New President Mean For The Housing Market?
  4. Controversy: You’ll Never Believe What’s Inside This House
  5. Numbers: This Step Will Increase Your Home’s Value By 5%

Focus On Your Intro

When you’ve got great content to share, it might be hard to think of a way to get started. You don’t want to jump too quickly into information. It will create a dry blog. Instead, use an opening sentence that builds curiosity. Ask a question of your audience, challenge an idea, or be a little silly to keep them reading. With blogs, like any form of social media, the tone should be light and conversational, not journalistic and stuffy.

Write Your Outline, Then Fill In Content

Once you know what you’re going to write about, jot down a simple outline to get your thoughts organized. This makes sure that you don’t leave out important information or get carried off on a tangent. Once your outline is solid, start filling in your ideas. Search engines grade posts on their readability, among other factors. Keep sentences short and break the content into small paragraphs. Your total word count should be around 400-600 words.

Link Where You Can

Your blog also grabs more attention from search engines when it links to sites with similar information. If you’re citing a source, add the link to the original material. The more connection your post seems to have with other relevant sites, the higher you’ll appear in search results.

Add Some Visuals

Pictures break up the content for your reader, but they also add weight to your search engine results, especially if the picture file names relate to the information in your blog. For example, if you’ve written a blog titled “5 Problems You Shouldn’t Overlook When House Hunting” and including a picture of a home, double check the file title and make sure you change it if necessary. A picture of a home titled “new-home.jpg” will get a lot more mileage than “image00159.jpg.”

Writing A Great Blog

Publish And Promote

Congratulations, your blog is looking good! But wait! How will anyone know it’s there? Make sure you share your content to social media to help drive visitors to your website. You can also send the link out in your next email blast, forward it to a client who may have asked about the information you’ve posted, or share it in a variety of other ways. The point is, if people don’t know it’s there, they may not go looking for it on their own.

The Resource: November’s Social Media Guide

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

The Holiday Season

5 Decluttering Projects To Help You Get Ready for the Holidays (Houzz)
15 Simple Thanksgiving Centerpieces (Shelterness)
Bring Farmhouse Touches Into Your Home for Thanksgiving (The Spruce)
Thanksgiving Hosting Hacks (Better Homes and Gardens)

Texas Living

Meanwhile In Texas (Texas Monthly)
How the World Series Finally Vindicated Astros Fans (Texas Monthly)
15 Songs That Embody the Texas Spirit (Wide Open Country)
Texas Meals You Have To See (and Taste) to Believe (Texas Hill Country)

Just For Fun

DIY: Make a Fresh Magnolia Wreath (Houzz)
The Top Travel Destinations of 2018 (Elle Decor)
Peek Inside the Homes of 23 Classic Hollywood Stars (Veranda)
Home Decor Ideas for People Who Love Their Dogs A Little Too Much (Realtor.com)

Around The House

What To Store in the Laundry Room, And What You Shouldn’t (The Spruce)
Composting How-Tos (Better Homes and Gardens)
The Ultimate Stain Removing Guide (Better Homes and Gardens)
Garden Trends for 2018 (HGTV)
Garage Organization Ideas That Will Give You Your Parking Space Back (House Beautiful)
A Tightwad’s Guide to Getting Organized (Organized Home)

Decor Inspiration

15 Cool Shared Spaces Where Kids Can Study (Shelterness)
Stunning Ways to Redecorate the Dining Room (Good Housekeeping)
Natural Fall Decorating Ideas (Real Simple)
Unexpected Patterns that are Perfect for Fall (HGTV)
Luxurious Headboards for a Dreamy Slumber (Luxe Daily)

Buying And Selling

The Problem with Tiny Houses That No One Talks About (Elle Decor)
10 Home Maintenance Myths Costing You Time and Money (HouseLogic)
Should I Bail After A Bad Home Inspection? (The Mortgage Reports)

 

How To Create A Solid Social Media Strategy

Frontier Title Texas | Real Estate Advice

With social media being so available, so affordable, so omnipresent in our society, it makes sense that most businesses and entrepreneurs – not to mention consumers – are turning to social media. So you need a social media marketing plan? It’s hard enough to form a solid plan, let alone build one from scratch.

What is a social media marketing plan?

A social media marketing plan is a road map of everything you plan (and hope) to accomplish for your business by using social media as a platform. Your plan should include where you are today, where you want to be, and how you hope to get there. Be both specific and reasonable with your goals. Additionally, your social media marketing plan is a piece of the bigger puzzle – your entire marketing plan.

Objectives and Goals

First, determine why you want to use social media and what using it will achieve. Do you want to strengthen exposure for your business? Are you looking to attract more followers? Do you want to generate leads? Your goals should align with your broader marketing strategy. Wanting more likes or retweets is one thing, but let yourself go beyond these simple answers and strive for more leads, referrals, and client conversions.

Goals should follow the SMART framework. Meaning, all objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Conduct an Audit

An audit will give you a good idea of where you are right now. Ask yourself these questions to start:

  • How many social media platforms am I using?
  • Are my usernames/profile information/photos relatively consistent?
  • How many followers do I have on each platform?
  • What is my mission for each social media platform? (Example: We use Instagram to show followers a more personal side of our business.”
  • Who is my target audience for each platform? Are my current posts relevant for that demographic?

Determine the purpose and function of each social profile you’re using. If you can’t determine the purpose, it’s probably time to delete the profile.

Improve Your Existing Profiles

After your audit is complete, you’ll have a good idea of what’s working and what needs improvement. Choose which networks meet your objectives and focus on these. Build them up or improve them from where they are, keeping your audience and your broader marketing plan in mind.

Find Inspiration

If you’re feeling a little stuck on how to start and what kind of information to share, look around at what others in your industry are doing. Chances are, there’s a pattern that you can follow to increase your engagement and interest. Of course, you still want to differentiate your brand and your services, but use your competitors and industry leaders as a source of inspiration. How often are they sharing? What is their response style?

Create A Plan

A strong plan includes a content schedule, visual strategy, and a plan for evaluation. Determine what types of content you will post, how often you’ll post, and how you’ll promote the content. Decide on a look for your social media, and stick with it to establish a recognizable and trusted presence. As time goes on, pay attention to your social media insights and adjust your plan accordingly.

The Resource: March 2017

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

Texas Tips

Just For Fun

Around The House

Decor Inspiration

Buying And Selling

Making Your Social Media Stand Out

Have you ever been scrolling through social media posts and been able to match a photo to the company that posted it just by sight? If so, you’re following a company or brand with a well-defined social media plan. You can do this, too, even if you’re running your business as an individual, and it’s not a difficult task.

Brand consistency is crucial to attracting customers. Your potential client wants to know what they can expect from you, so letting your online look match the work and style of service you provide helps you earn trust from your followers.

Where to begin?

Start With A Social Media Style Guide

You can create your style guide in a Word Doc, or get a little creative with another program. The idea is to clearly define the look and tone of your social media posts, and stick to them. Before you know it, your brand will be easily recognizable and matched to your skill. Ask your self these questions:

1. What colors do I use in my branding? Will I include any other complementary colors in my branding?

2. What tone will my social media set? Professional? Cheerful? Knowledgable? Whimsical?

2. Which fonts am I using in my logo and branding? What other fonts will complement my look?

3. Which programs or apps will I use for creating templates for branded images? (Take a look at Canva and Adobe Spark if you’re looking for ideas)

4. What size and dimensions will my branded images be? Your images should be consistent across all posts.

5. Where will I find my images for graphic-based posts? Will I take photos myself or look for stock photography? Will I use the same photo filter each time for a consistent look?

6. Where will my logo and/or contact information appear on each of my branded images?

By answering these questions and sticking to the style guide you create, you’re helping your followers identify your work on sight and building familiarity.

Check for Consistency

Now that you’ve made some choices, visit each of your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Zillow, Trulia, etc, etc, etc). Each profile picture should match. And while cover photos have a little more flexibility, they should match each other in tone. Check your profile info and about sections – do they have the same information? Is the contact information up-to-date, easy to find, and correct?

 

4 Apps That Make Instagram More Fun

Are you a REALTOR®? You are? You’re using Instagram, then, right? WHAT?

Stop reading this, go set up your Instagram account, and come right back.

In a business as visual as Real Estate, Instagram is one of your best tools for showcasing just about everything your potential customers want to know about you and your business. Listings, local businesses and events, colleague connections, and of course, your own personality. Instagram isn’t just for teens and tweens anymore. There is an ever-growing adult population on the social media network, with 23% of the adult population documenting their lives through Instagram as of January 2015.

So, now that you’ve set up your profile, here are a couple of ways to enhance the platform through a few fun apps.

iMovie

iMovie is great if you want a little more control when creating short videos for Instagram (perfect for a walk-through of a new listing, or to show off a hidden feature). The app is available on both iPhone and iPad. It let’s you trim videos with ease and gives you access to special effects and filters. Download here.

Latergramme

There are certainly better times to post than others. On Instagram, your posts will get more exposure if you post around 2am and 5pm. You read that right. But why? At 2am, fewer people are posting (because most of them are asleep). Your early morning post will get lots of attention as followers are checking their feeds first thing in the morning. You can see more specific posting times here. Latergramme is an app that helps you schedule posts for the future. It’s not fully automated – Latergramme will send you a notification to post. You can skip the 2am wake up call and let the app notify you around the same time your alarm goes off. You’ll still get plenty of exposure. Check out the web app here, and download here on iOS or download here on Android.

Canva

Canva makes graphic design seem easy…ok, maybe just a little easier. The app is perfect for creating polished images on the go, adding your logo to your listing photos, and more. It’s full of plenty of free features and templates, and several more if you’re willing to upgrade or pay a small fee per design. Download here.

Snapseed

While phone cameras are better with every new release, it’s difficult to find just the perfect lighting and setup to create a stunning image. Snapseed is a free photo editing app that makes touching up a “snap!” The filters may not be as plentiful as other apps, but the ability to brighten or darken only certain parts of your photo, change the brightness and contract, and make that sky look just a little bluer makes this app an ideal fix for your listing photos.  Download here for iOSand download here for Android.

Using Live Video To Boost Your Business

We’ve posted before about the benefits of using video to promote your business. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, or many other platforms to broadcast your message to your followers. Keep in mind that your followers will get a notification that you are streaming live and that your video will still be available to view after your streaming has ended. Take advantage of the fact that most people today are glued to their phones and realize that you are guaranteed an audience! So, when should you be using a live video option?

Go Live When You’re Viewing A New Listing

Walk your followers through a property and show them features they might not notice in a photo gallery. Unique tile? Interesting lighting fixtures? Detailed ceilings? Show it off! And remember that your viewers can comment and react in real time, so pay attention to any questions they may ask.

Go Live At An Open House

Use the opportunity to, again, show the home, but also to introduce them to vendors, show any flurries of activity during the day, and remind people to come see the home – and you – in person.

Go Live When You’re Out And About

Part of selling you is selling your expertise about the city you live in. If you’re at an event, trying a new restaurant, or spending time in your neighborhood, let people in on what you know about your town. Live Video is a great way to show you are savvy about social media and technology, your business, and your city.

Go Live When You Have Advice To Give

Instead of posting an article, or even a pre-recorded video, be a little more candid and offer your advice live. Now more than ever, consumers appreciate transparency. Use live streams to show off your personality and your expertise.

 

Make The Most Out Of Your LinkedIn Profile

When most people think of LinkedIn, they think of finding jobs or hiring employees. However, the social media platform offers so much more. It’s a great opportunity to make real connections and generate leads. When used correctly, creatively, and consistently, it can give your business a big boost.

Your Online Business Card

Treat your profile like a business card – you’d never attend a networking event without up-to-date and professional cards. Your profile should get the same attention. Make sure all of your information is current, including your profile picture. Take a good look at your online presence across social media, web sites, etc. Make sure that the pictures, logos, and other information are consistent across all platforms.

Your Summary

A well-written summary can represent you well. Use first person and conversational language. LinkedIn users will scan a resume, but will dig into a well-crafted paragraph. Take this opportunity to let people know who you really are. If you’re looking for leads on LinkedIn, avoid industry terms that prospective clients may not be familiar with and speak to them on their level.

Your Pictures Is Worth A Thousand Words

Because LinkedIn is a site meant for professionals, your profile picture should reflect your business persona. Snapshots, cropped photos, and family or vacation pics are not welcome here. Use your professional headshot. If you don’t have one, it’s time to invest in some good photography!

Finish What You Started

Everything on LinkedIn is searchable. The more complete your profile is, the easier it will be for prospective clients, business partners, and vendors to find you.

Optimization

As you fill out your profile, think of your target connection. Are you looking for potential team members? Prospective clients? What words will they use to search for you on LinkedIn? Pepper your summary and experience with these search terms to optimize your chances of making good connections.

Posts

You have the opportunity to get the word out about your business by posting links, articles, status updates, and blogs. Do not pass up your chance to let the professional world know what you do! Show off your expertise and business savvy by contributing to the global conversation!

Connect

Social Media is all about participation. It’s reciprocal – you get out what you put in. Comment on posts, congratulate your connections on their new positions, anniversaries, and promotions. You never know where your next lead will come from. A simple happy birthday message could lead to a big sale!

Improve Your Facebook Ads

Running ads on social media can be hit or miss, especially when formats and algorithms are constantly changing. If you’ve run an ad on Facebook before, you know that they are relatively easy to set up. But, easy to set up doesn’t mean they’re easy to optimize. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Facebook ads.

  1. Combine Multiple Objectives

    Smaller businesses, or businesses with a smaller customer base, should consider using their ads for multiple benefits. For example, use your ad space to advertise your service while linking it back to your website or blog. Make sure your website or blog is up-to-date with good information so that you can maintain the interest of your visitors after they click through. If they like what they see on your site, they are much more likely to “like” your Facebook page.

  2. Take Advantage of Targeting Features

    Facebook will send your ad across the United States by default if you don’t add targeting features. To create an ad that performs well, you need to narrow down your audience. You’ll avoid spending money sending ads to people who won’t be interested in your business or who are outside of your area. Through targeting features, you can set parameters for age, location, and even the interests and income of your audience.

  3. Do A Split Test

    If you are unsure about exactly who to target, or what approach to take with your ad, run a few similar ads for a limited time to get an idea of what is working and what isn’t. Facebook’s ad prices are flexible enough to run a test without breaking the bank. Try different zip codes, age ranges, and check back when the campaigns have run their course to see what you want to spend a larger amount of money on.

  4. Add Special Offers

    Obviously, our ears perk up when we hear about special offers. It’s a classic marketing technique and it works. Special offers boost your sales while giving your audience an incentive. Consider something you may be able to offer to your prospective clients. Maybe it’s a free sellers’ consultation, providing a complimentary service, or running a contest for your followers. Your ad should entice your audience!

     

Using LinkedIn to Boost Your Real Estate Business

In this social-media-saturated world, chances are you have a Facebook page. You probably even have a Facebook business page, and a Twitter account. You may even have an Instagram if you’re really in the know. But what does your LinkedIn page look like? LinkedIn seems to be a lost resource for many real estate agents. That might be because of the perception that it’s used mostly by people looking for employment opportunities. This is not the case and, hopefully, by using some of the tips below, you’ll grow your business by using LinkedIn well.

LinkedIn may have a reputation as a job search site, but you should consider it as a 24/7 networking event for business professionals. Even better, it’s an event that will give you time to speak your mind, tell others about what you do, and make the case for what makes you better than your competition.

Step One: Look The Part

You wouldn’t ever arrive at a networking event dressed casually. Make sure your picture is recent, professionally taken, and cropped well. Snapshots and family photos have no place here – your profile picture makes a difference.

Step Two: Complete Your Information

You’d never hand someone an outdated business card. Make sure that your profile information is complete. Your summary, current role, and previous positions should be detailed and written in the first person. LinkedIn, like all social media, is conversational. Consider recording yourself speaking about who you are and what you do, then transcribe it to make sure it truly “sounds” like you. People on LinkedIn are interested in your past experience, but if you have a gap in employment, irrelevant jobs in your history, or a job you only took for a few months, it’s okay to omit the information. It’s more beneficial to see the positions that helped you become the amazing professional you are today.

Step Three: Connect

In the world of LinkedIn, connecting with acquaintances, or even people you’d like to get to know better, doesn’t have the creepiness factor that Facebook does. Growing your network is important (we’ll get more into this in Step Five). When you send or accept a connection request, send along a quick note. The note can be as simple as, “It was great meeting you last week” or “I really admire you and I’d love to connect.” Again, at a live networking event, you’d want to reach out to others. Standing on the sidelines won’t help you grow your business.

Step Four: Interact

LinkedIn gives you lots of opportunities to interact with others. You can comment on articles and updates, congratulate colleagues on promotions, new positions, work anniversaries, wish people a happy birthday, etc. All of these instances give you an opportunity to send a personal note. Leave business out of it and send your genuine well-wishes. You’ll be happy to reinforce the connection and the recipient will be appreciative of a sincere message without a sales piece.

Step Five: Publish

Now that you’ve got a strong audience (thanks, Step Three!), you’ll want to remind them that you’re there. By publishing links to articles, quotes, and status updates, your network will recognize you as an authority in your field.

 


SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:

So You’re On LinkedIn – Now What?
9 Effortless Ways to Use LinkedIn to Generate Real Estate Leads
How to Use LinkedIn for Real Estate Leads